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HOW TO SEEK PROTECTION
IN THE USA
for Ukrainian refugees
Eligibility criteria:
* persecuted in your country based on one or more of the following reasons: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership in a particular social group (e.g. being LGBTQ+)
* should file within 1 year of arriving in the US
Asylum
option
Eligibility criteria:
* national or certain resident of Ukraine
* residing in the US since at least March 1, 2022
Temporary Protected Status
option
Eligibility criteria:
* outside the US
* persecuted based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion
* not resettled in another country

The process relies of UNHCR standards. No guarantee of admission to the US.
US Refugee Admission
option
ASYLUM
Am I eligible?
You are eligible if you were persecuted in your country based on one or more of the following reasons: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, and/or membership in a particular social group. You may apply for asylum regardless of your immigration status or how you entered the US. You should file within 1 year of arriving in the US. If you do not file within 1 year, there may be exceptions and/or other forms of relief that apply to you.
How do I apply?
To apply for asylum, you must be on US territory. You then have to complete Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal and send it to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Can I apply if I am not in the US?
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for US asylum if you are not on US soil. There is no remote or online option to apply. Generally, US embassies and consulates do not consider individual requests for refugee status. If you are not able to come to the US consider other options such as applying for asylum in a different country or contacting UNHCR in another country.
TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS
1. Am I eligible for TPS status?
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Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Eligible applicants must be a national of Ukraine or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Be a national of Ukraine, or a person without nationality who last habitually resided in Ukraine;
  • File during the open initial registration or re-registration period, or meet the requirements for late initial filing during any extension of your country's TPS designation;
  • Have been continuously physically present (CPP) in the United States since March 1, 2022; and
  • Have been continuously residing (CR) in the United States March 1, 2022. The law allows an exception to the continuous physical presence and continuous residence requirements for brief, casual and innocent departures from the United States. USCIS will determine whether the exception applies in your case.
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2. How do I decide whether to apply for asylum or TPS status?
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You can apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylum, or for both TPS and asylum.

If you get TPS and do not get asylum, you will continue to be TPS until the US government ends the TPS period and takes the status back. If you are inside 1 year of application period for asylum, you should better apply for asylum. If you do not get asylum, USCIS will send your case to the immigration court and you will have a chance to appeal.

Asylum status is better than TPS because you can apply for permanent residency. TPS does not provide this option. It is only useful if there's no other option.

Here are some of the reasons why you can benefit from TPS instead of asylum:
- you do not have a strong case for asylum
- you missed the 1 year period to apply for asylum after your arrival to the US

Ukrainians who are considering TPS should consult a lawyer or trusted organization to screen them for other forms of immigration relief and, if it is possible to apply for TPS and perhaps other applications, help them determine whether and when it is a good idea to do so. It is possible to apply for both TPS and asylum, but the advantages of doing so vary based on the particular circumstances that the immigrant has.

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3. How do I apply for TPS?
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To register or re-register for TPS you must file Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status.

When filing an initial TPS application, you must submit:
  • Identity and Nationality Evidence: to demonstrate your identity and that you are a national of Ukraine (or that you have no nationality and you last habitually resided in Ukraine).
  • Date of Entry Evidence: to demonstrate when you entered the United States.
  • Continuous Residence (CR) Evidence: to demonstrate that you have been in the United States since March 1, 2022.
Any document that is not in English must be accompanied by a complete English translation. The translator does not have to be a professional, but must certify that:
  • He/she/they are competent both in English and the foreign language used in the original document; and
  • The translation is true and correct to the best of his/her/their ability, knowledge, and belief.
Ukrainian New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/ukrainianresources for more information or call the Mayor’s Office of Immigrants Affairs’ Immigration Legal Services Hotline at 800-354-0365 for help in applying for TPS, as well as for connections to city-funded, free, and safe immigration legal help.

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If UNHCR refers your case to the US, you will be scheduled for an appointment with an intermediary organization known as a Refugee Support Center (RSC). It will handle your case going forward, including preparing you to meet with a US Refugee Officer.

The RSC will ask you numerous questions about why you left Ukraine and why you cannot return, similar to the questions asked by UNHCR. Try to have all the relevant names, dates, and facts clear in your head before your appointment with the RSC. Do your best to provide honest and accurate information.


Appointment with Resettlement Support Center (RSC)
Reach out to local UNHCR office and register:
* In Ukraine call: 0-800-307-711
* In Poland (also Polish gov hotline: +48477217575)
* In Moldova call: +373 22 271 853 or email: hunbu@unhcr.org for UNHCR (also Moldovan gov hotline: 0-8000-1527)
* In Romania, also Romanian National Council for Refugees
* In Hungary
* In Slovakia
Find and Register with a UNHCR Office
UNHCR refers refugees to various countries for resettlement. There is no guarantee that UNHCR will refer you to the US, but they will consider factors such as family and other ties to the US.
Referral by UNHCR
RSC will schedule you for an interview with a US Refugee Officer.

The questions are similar to those of UNHCR or the RSC, but the US Refugee Officer will ask for greater detail about your situation. They will decide whether you are credible. Be careful not to contradict yourself between your appointments with the UNHCR and RSC and with US Refugee Officer, who will do their own factual and legal analysis, and background and security checks.


If the US approves your application for refugee status, the RSC will send you and your family for medical exams. The RSC will provide you with cultural integration education and arrange your travel to the US. You will also be referred to a nongovernmental organization in the US that will serve as your sponsor. You do not need to find a financial sponsor. The resettlement agency to which you are referred will send someone to meet you at the airport and help provide support during your first months in the US.
Upon arrival in the US, all refugees are met by someone from the resettlement agency. You will be taken to your initial housing, which has essential furnishings, appropriate food, and other basic necessities. You will receive employment authorization upon arrival and, if other criteria are met, eventually be eligible for lawful permanent residence.


US REFUGEE
ADMISSION
Interview with
US Refugee Officer

Approval for US Refugee Status
Arrival in the US
Q&A
1. If a person entered a neighboring country from Ukraine (Poland etc.), are they still eligible for US Refugee Admission?
Yes. In fact, that is usually how it works. Being in another country would not automatically disqualify anyone from being designated a refugee. In fact, it is often the case that refugees temporarily stay in an intermediate country before being flown to the US.
    2. If a Russian soldier voluntarily surrenders to the Ukrainian army, are he/she/they eligible for the US Refugee Admission or any other humanitarian parole in the US?
    Unfortunately, the US government has not announced any plans to settle Russian prisoners of war.
    3. I am in Russia and I am against the war. Am I eligible for refugee status?
    If you fear persecution based on your anti-war activities, you may travel to a country where you feel safe and can apply for asylum or similar status. If you cannot do that in the country to which you traveled, you can contact UNHCR in that country to begin the refugee admission process. If you apply to UNHCR while you are still in Russia, UNHCR may not be able to protect you there.
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